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What Happens If Utah Goes To Pac-10 And BYU Is Left Behind: Independence?

There are so many ways to go with the many Pac-10 expansion rumors, but what happens if the Pac-10 takes Utah and the fallout leaves BYU still in the Mountain West.  The best case scenario for BYU in a sans Utah Mountain West would be for Commissioner Craig Thompson to invite Boise State to help ensure the MWC gains an auto bid to the BCS.

The way the time line should work is that first the Mountain West will invite Boise State this summer and have them begin conference play in 2011.  The 2011 season would be the last year of the BCS evaluation period which means all of Boise State's rankings would be included with the rest of the Mountain West even though they were in the WAC.  This to date would have four Mountain West teams in the top 25 final BCS standings, and most likely at least three in the final top 25 for the following two years since Boise would now be included.  That should be enough for the Mountain West to be the seventh league with an auto bid to the BCS, even if Utah leaves.

Now, the Pac-10 will most likely extend an invite to Utah in the summer of 2011 and in this scenario Colorado goes as well -- unless the Pac-10 jumps the gun and hands out invitations this summer.  Utah would still finish year four of four of the BCS evaluation period with the Mountain West and not effect the MWC's rankings during the current BCS evaluation period.  So, the Mountain West would have a BCS bid for the next few years without Utah, but with the addition of Boise State -- who would essentially be a swap for Utah -- the Mountain West could still keep that BCS auto bid for the foreseeable future with BYU, Boise State, and TCU performing well on the field.

This scenario nothing much would change for BYU except that the Mountain West would be a BCS league and earn the rewards that come with that.  The only downside is that with three good teams and not four the MWC will still need to perform well to keep their BCS status for more then just one cycle.

There are other scenarios that could hurt BYU by Utah going to the Pac-10 would be recruiting, because some of the athletes on the fence about going to BYU or Utah may choose Utah over BYU for the chance to play better competition.  Especially since BYU draws from such a small pool of LDS athletes with a small additional athletes that like the environment at BYU.  That pool could be reduced, however if the MWC keeps their BCS auto status then it could all be the same as before with BYU getting the majority of the LDS athletes.

The rivalry between Utah and BYU might be in trouble in when they play.  A lot of non-conference rivalries happen in the beginning of the season.  Florida and Florida State play late in the year and that would be the proper place for this game to take place.  The game would lose a little meaning since it would not be deciding anything within their respected conference.

One far fetched idea that has been floated if the Mountain West gets decimated by Utah and TCU leaving and Boise State stays in the WAC is that BYU would go independent.  One radio host who in my opinion lacks college football knowledge was saying that if BYU could get a special deal to the BCS like Notre Dame then they would go independent in a second.  That is never going to happen for BYU.  Oh, and he mentioned that BYU and Notre Dame would play ever year?  Why?  The last series was a two for one deal between the Domers and the Cougars.

Now, BYU would have enough pull to broker a deal with various networks.  ESPN would be one that would pick up some BYU home games as well would Fox Sports Utah (not national) for some games, and CBS College Sports would want to pick up something since they currently have a relationships.

Being on ESPN would mean some better exposure and most likely they would still be on TV every week since in the first few years of being an independent they would play some MWC schools and be on either Versus, The Mtn, or CBS College.  The money would be a key which BYU might not be there with their own type of television deal, and figuring out a bowl tie in would be tough.  Going back to that genius radio host mentioned that BYU could easily slide into the Holiday Bowl again.   Not a terrible idea but he should realize that they just signed a brand new deal.  The first year or two could be tough to get into a bowl tie in at all.

Independence would be a mess even if the Mountain West is a weaker league, but in that case BYU could do what Boise State currently does in the WAC; rack up wins and then they finally could get into a BCS bowl game.


Should BYU go independent if they are left in the MWC when Utah goes to the Pac-10.

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